Weekly Wrap 296: And now everything changes, again…

Sunrise at Bronte Beach: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 1 to Sunday 7 February 2016 has been very different. Not merely different from a typical Australian’s experience, like last week, but different from even my own smorgasbord of experiences.

It began on Monday with the stress of negotiating certain timelines with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). That was successful, and I was much relieved — although I still have to meet those deadlines in the coming months.

Then Wednesday provided another emotional journey, I’ll call it, with my visit to the Black Dog Institute and the resulting diagnosis.

After all that, I was exhausted.

So even though I achieved two significant milestones right there, when it came to producing the kinds of things I usually list here…

Articles / Podcasts / Media Appearances / 5at5

… there were none.

I did kick off another new geek-for-hire project on Thursday, however, so there’s that. I’ll tell you more about that, and the other projects, in due course.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Friday, I received a package of American snack food — Chex Mix, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Caramel Corn, and the like — from networking vendor Brocade to consume during this weekend’s Super Bowl. Why? Because Brocade did the data networks in Levi’s Stadium.

It’s still only Saturday as I post this, but Sunday 7 February will be a lazy day, so let’s get straight into…

The Week Ahead

It’s going to be a busy one, boys and girls. No, this time it really will be.

On Monday, I’ll be doing the long commute to Sydney for a medical appointment, and to get a haircut. I’ll be dealing with tax documentation and project management en route.

Tuesday will be a quiet one, pottering around the house, and dealing with all manner of loose ends.

The rest of the week is shaped around the Pause Fest in Melbourne.

On Wednesday, I’m catching the 0543 train down to Sydney and then Sydney Airport. At 0900, it’s flight VA824 to Melbourne. Once I’ve checked in to my hotel, I’ll be having lunch with someone. The afternoon is as yet unplanned. The Pause Fest opening party is in the evening, but I need to have an early night. So instead, I’ meeting a friend for drinks, with a break to do a radio spot on ABC 774 Melbourne at 1930 AEDT.

On Thursday, I’m up early to do a spot on ABC TV’s News Breakfast. I think it’s at 0810 AEDT. I’m then spending the rest of the day at Pause Fest’s Tech Day, presumably covering it for ZDNet. I’m on the panel at 1730 AEDT, titled “The security paradox: individual privacy vs digital driftnets”, after which I’m having drinks with some people, and then dinner with someone else.

On Friday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet, then at 1300 it’s lunch in the Melbourne CBD or thereabouts with Andy Nicholson and anyone else who wants in. The afternoon is as yet unplanned. At 2000 it’s Pause Fest’s Speakers Dinner, for speakers only, so you can’t come.

On Saturday, well, I’m open to suggestions for how to spend the morning, and where to have lunch. I’ll then leave for the airport at 1430, and catch my 1600 flight VA859 to Sydney. I’ll probably then catch the train to Wentworth Falls that night, but we’ll see.

Either way, Sunday will be a day of sloth. A very big sloth.

Further Ahead

I suspect that the much-delayed episode of The 9pm Edict podcast will eventually be recorded on Tuesday 16 February, or the day after.

Plans are being hatched for me to return to Melbourne two weeks after that, to cover the APIdays conference on 1-2 March. We shall see. Either way, it’s more than likely that I’ll be in Melbourne 8-11 March for Cisco LIVE!, assuming they’ll have me again.

[Photo: Sunrise at Bronte Beach. For several years, it was my habit to photograph the first sunrise of each new year. Here, the sun rises out of the Pacific Ocean at Bronte Beach, Sydney, on 1 January 2005.]

Talking voiceprint biometrics on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logo“Two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Wells Fargo & Co — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud,” reported Associated Press this week. The news caught the eye of Will Goodings at 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide. I told him that the Americans are way behind Australia on this one.

All of the Big Four banks here are already using voiceprints. In the case of NAB and Westpac, since about 2009.

In fact, Australia is a world leader in voiceprint technology. In a Patch Monday podcast from March 2012, I spoke with Dr Clive Summerfield, chief executive of Auraya, who told me that Australia’s social services agency Centrelink has been using voiceprints to identify callers since 2005, and more than 95% of callers are identified this way. Voiceprints are also used by the Australian Taxation Office.

Here’s a recording of the conversation we had on air on Friday afternoon, complete with a talkback caller who followed me.

Play

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Weekly Wrap 161: The black dog and the prodigal umbrella

Sydney Harbour, viewed through a dirty window in the AMP Tower: click to embiggenMy week Monday 1 to Sunday 7 July 2013 was another complicated one, as already explained. That’s why this post is very late, of course.

Once I’d gotten the bigger chunks of work out of the way, I pulled the pace back a bit — which I think you’ll agree was sensible.

I was also pleased to see the return of the prodigal umbrella. The excellent umbrella I was given by Verizon Business in Singapore had been left at a noodle bar months ago — but the owners remembered it and me. We were reunited last Wednesday. Also, pho was served.

Podcasts

None.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Friday, I was interviewed for a segment on Channel TEN’s The Project. However it didn’t air until Monday 8 July, so it’ll get its own blog post shortly, and be included in next week’s wrap.
  • On Sunday I was a guest on Reckoner episode three, as already explained.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

It’s almost over, so I’ll just mention that I’ll be writing for ZDNet Australia tomorrow, Friday, and I’ll be returning to the Blue Mountains on Sunday, probably.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour, viewed through a dirty window in the AMP Tower, photographed on 2 July 2013.]

Talking many things on the Reckoner podcast

Reckoner podcast logo: click for original websiteOn Sunday I was a guest on the podcast Reckoner with hosts Peter Wells and James Croft, which has been badged Episode Three | Freedom Of Choice.

We spoke about the Australian Taxation Office’s clunky e-tax for Mac software; Choice encouraging people to bypass geo-blocking to get at the digital content they want; a chap called Mattrick moving from Microsoft to Zynga; Yves St Laurent CEO Paul Deneve joining Apple; Samsung buying Boxee; and Twitter client Falcon Pro for Android going free, but gaming Twitter’s user-token limits.

There’s links to all those things on the episode page. That’s three links to that page now, so you should click on one of them. Go on.

That said, here’s the audio right here, embedded in this page so it’ll also appear in my Conversation podcast feed.

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The audio is Copyright ©2013 Reckoner.

Talking ATO e-tax for Mac on ABC Radio’s “PM”

ABC logoAfter 15 years, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) finally launched a Mac OS X version of its e-tax software for filing personal income tax returns — and it doesn’t work. Hah!

ATO bungles e-tax for Mac launch, wrote Ben Grubb at Fairfax. E-tax for Mac launch stumbles on developer certificate, wrote Josh Taylor at ZDNet. And so on.

I gave my feelpinion on ABC Radio’s PM program this evening. I was not complimentary. I mentioned steam trains. And sledgehammers.

The journalist was Johanna Jarvis. The presenter, Peter Lloyd. Here’s the audio.

Play

The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and over at the ABC website you can find their audio and a transcript.